05.19.2010 12:00 PM
Industry Seeks More Time to Install Updated EAS Gear
WASHINGTON: The FCC should extend the 180-day deadline for
stations to install updated Emergency Alert System gear, and the feds should
fund more training to use it. Those are some of the industry suggestions
to the commission on potential changes to the commission’s Part 11 rules
governing the Emergency Alert System.
Comments on Part 11 rule changes and specifically on Federal Emergency
Management Agency’s introduction of the common alerting protocol (Docket No. 04-296)
were due to the FCC Monday.
The NAB said EAS training for state and local emergency managers should be
expanded and federally funded.
“Public alerting is a critical function of emergency managers, yet there are no
generally accepted standard operating procedures that officials can reference
when deciding how and when to activate the EAS, or how to draft EAS messages,”
wrote NAB in its comments. “During the often stressful periods leading up to
and during an emergency, state and local emergency officials are often placed
in the difficult position of deciding without clear guidance whether or not to
trigger the EAS,” leading to unwarranted or delayed EAS alerts.
The NAB also supports extending the deadline for EAS participants to accept a Common
Alerting Protocol-based alert, saying the much-discussed 180-day “shot clock”may
not be enough time for manufacturers to design, test, build and distribute new
EAS gear and for stations to install the new encoders/decoders. Barring an
extension, the trade association suggests the commission give a break to
stations that cannot afford new EAS gear within the deadline.
Coding equipment manufacturer Sage does not believe that a total rewrite is
needed before the clock starts, as CAP can begin to be used with the rules as
they exist , with minor tweaks. After the industry and the government gains
experience with CAP is the time to start thinking about amending Part 11 rules,
Sage wrote. CAP/EAS equipment now in the field is upgradable with new software,
Sage told the commission.
Emergency management services company SpectraRep, part of BIA Financial
Network, said for an effective CAP EAS system architecture, Part 11 rules need
to be changed to require EAS participants to monitor multiple IP-based CAP
alert sources (such as CAP servers), in addition to legacy audio EAS alert
sources. Now, stations participating in EAS must monitor a minimum of two audio
sources for EAS. SpectraRep also supports extending the 180-day CAP compliance
-- from Radio World